On 27 April 2017 the Digital Economy Bill received Royal Assent in the ‘wash up’ session prior to the formal dissolution of Parliament on 3 May 2017.

The Digital Economy Bill incorporates the new Electronic Communications Code. The Code will come into force on a date to be decided upon so for now it is the existing Code that regulates telecoms equipment.

In the meantime, Ofcom are now carrying out a consultation with the industry, including those that act for landowners and operators, on the new Code of Practice and the standard terms, documents and notices that will be used with the new Code. That consultation closes on 2 June 2017.

The new Code brings significant changes and will give operators powers similar to statutory undertakers, including new non-compensatory rental valuations for landowners with telecoms equipment on site and automatic sharing rights for operators. Landowners will also have reduced control over assignments of telecoms agreements and operators will be able to remain on site where a telecoms agreement’s fixed term has ended, similar to a business tenant’s rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.